Sketching in Paris With Melanie Reim

JC Melanie Reim

It was 9:30 pm and i’ve just heard the little tinkling of an new incoming mail in my smartphone.

“Bonjour, Jean-Christophe,
I know that this is very late notice, I am going to be in Paris, arriving tomorrow afternoon. I wonder if you might be free to meet for a coffee late afternoon?
Melanie Reim”

At that time, all I knew about Melanie was that she will be teaching at Sketchbook Skool next month in the same Storytelling Klass than me, that both of us figured in Danny Gregory‘s book ‘An Illustrated Journey‘ and that I loved her drawings full of energy.
Oh yes, she also seemed to be sharing that simple philosophy that, as we say in french, ‘Les amis de mes amis sont mes amis’. (The friends of my friends are my friends).

This is how I came to meet with Melanie Reim on a bright sunny saturday afternoon in the Latin Quarter, one of the most (thousands) adorable areas in Paris. We just chatted, exchanged ideas, sipping altogether this delightful september afternoon up to the point where Melanie couldn’t resist to the charm of the lovely Place de l’Odeon.
She took her sketchbook out of her bag, quietly unscrewed the cap of her wonderful vintage Pelikan fountain pen and started to draw the surrounding atmosphere. I felt obliged to do the same but could hardly draw as I was fascinated by the magic of her vigorous lines taking shape on the paper. She has a wonderful style with rather angular lines: the facade of the Odeon theatre unveiled gradually as ever I had seen it previously, and people popped on her sheet of paper at speed light.

Unfortunately, storm clouds started to gather over the zinc roofs offering a wonderful shade of grey (not 50 but not far). A large first drop spotted on her sketchbook and we were forced to pack in emergency. Too bad she couldn’t finish what seemed to be a very promising sketch.

We quitted as if we’ve know each other for years.
Melanie is truly a wonderful artist and I can’t wait to see what her course will be.

If you like the roofs of Paris, then you should come in winter

Paris - Toits enneigés lo

When I was in high school, our classroom, on the top floor of an old building in the heart of Paris, used to have a gorgeous view upon a cascade of Haussmann roofs. Though I were physically present in the classroom, my mind wandered outside, flying over roofs as Peter Pan would do, while constantly doodling in the margin of my Latin notebook.

Since then, I have kept a secret passion for these gray zinc roofs so typical, especially at wintertime when snow highlights them.

But don’t try to find this point of view: it is an imaginary one, just a patchwork of elements picked here and there, to try to compose an almost perfect view of Paris

C’est en hiver sous la neige que les toits de Paris sont les plus beaux

Quand j’étais au lycée, notre salle de classe, située au dernier étage d’un bâtiment en plein centre de Paris, offrait une vue magnifique sur une cascade de toits Haussmanniens. Si j’étais physiquement présent dans la salle de classe, mon esprit, en revanche vagabondait à l’extérieur, survolant les toits tel Peter Pan, tandis que ma main griffonnait incessamment dans la marge de mon cahier de Latin.

Depuis, j’ai gardé une passion secrète pour ces toits en zinc gris, si typiques surtout lorsqu’en hiver la neige vient les mettre en valeur.

Mais n’essayez pas de retrouver ce point de vue : il est imaginaire, un patchwork d’éléments piochés ici et là, pour tenter de composer une vue rêvée de Paris.